Skip to main content

tv   Rock Center With Brian Williams  NBC  January 30, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EST

10:00 pm
tonight on "rock center," while we're just now hearing hoy talk of brings jobs back to the u.s. and creating good jobs here, tonight we meet a man who's doing it. he's hired workers, the assembly line is up and running. and it all says made in america and this could just be the start. >> my daddy always said it's not about making furniture. it's about people making furniture. >> also tonight, you'll meet ken and rosie. you don't know them, but they've spent their lives serving all of us. they've been intentionally infected with diseases to try to find cures for humans. tonight an unprecedented look inside a facility that's at the center of an emotional debate over how we treat our closest relatives.
10:01 pm
also tonight, florida. not in terms of tomorrow's primary vote or the craziness going on there now. tonight, we look at a very important pathway through the state that will play a big role in november in selecting the next president. and speaking of the political season, as you may know by now, newt gingrich wants to see moon colonies. he's not first person to think of it either. wait till you see what we dug out of the nbc news archives. >> man will take his place firmly on the moon. >> "rock center" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening, and in case you haven't heard, there's a primary in florida foam and when it's over, even before we announce a winner after the polls close tomorrow night, most of the campaigns will have already moved on to nevada, the
10:02 pm
next primary. in florida, the tv ads will finally go dark and life in that state will return to what passes for normal. that is, until the real election campaign begins. florida is hugely valuable. the biggest of the swing states. and there's one stretch of real estate in florida important enough to swing most elections. it's interstate 4, the i-4 corridor, running from tampa through orlando on over to daytona beach. one political writer just this week called it the golden calf of florida politics. kate snow is just back from visiting this valuable stretch of the state. our friend tim russert famously called florida, florida, florida. >> reporter: at the florida's classic car show, you'd be forgiven for thinking this cozy city of 25,000 is stuck in the past. but don't be fooled. because come november, folks around here may be the ones with the keys to the future.
10:03 pm
the people who pick our next president. and the biggest issue they see -- the economy. >> i don't think president obama has done anything to remedy it at all. >> reporter: you're not willing to give him a second chance. >> he ain't getting any slack. >> reporter: on a sunny sunday afternoon in deland, we met with them. >> i'll vote for obama again. but he better get it in gear. >> reporter: deland is an exit on the busy interstate 4 corridor. it cuts from east to west right through the center of florida. it's cliche to say i-4 is the road to the white house, but it just might be true. greg fox is a political reporter for nbc affiliate in orlando. >> if you ignore the voters on that, you're in a detour and it could send you to a dead end. >> reporter: that's because voters in the counties along i-4 swing in the gentle southern breeze back and forth between parties. >> what's important about this
10:04 pm
corridor is that it's got nearly one in every four voters is registered independent. they have no party affiliation. they have no allegiance to republicans or democrats. and they really are the swing part of the state that can either create a victor, like bush in 2004 or a victor on the democrat side in obama in 2008. >> reporter: in 2008, the economy had just cratered, and four years later, there's a feeling nothing's improved. >> we're all so frustrated with the economy. >> reporter: and they say they don't trust politicians in washington to come together and fix anything. all they hear are promises. >> a lip service to get elected. then i don't feel that execution once you're elected into office. that is the root of the problem. >> reporter: you're disappointed by both parties? >> absolutely. >> these guys up there in washington are so bought and paid for, the money involved in the political process is
10:05 pm
wrecking the system. >> we got sold out. >> reporter: the frustration is obvious. there's even an occupy deland movement. and protesters are taking to the streets, well, at least to an intersection. and along with the frustration, there's a deep vein of anxiety, many much of it stemming from the housing crisis that decimated florida. i'm standing here in deland, street lights, sidewalks. one thing missing. houses. this is a ghost town. 45 empty weed-filled lots now. and there are places like this all over central florida. a sure sign of how quickly the bottom fell out. president obama who just recently traveled i-4 on a visit to orlando, is getting much of the blame, even from 2008 supporters like brianna jordan. >> it seems to me like the economy in florida is just not getting better. it is just not. i won't completely blame that on obama. >> reporter: but you're not sure you're going to give him four
10:06 pm
more years. >> i'm not sure i'm going to give him four more years to find out. >> reporter: on this porch, the real estate slump has hit everyone. >> that's all of us. >> that's florida. >> reporter: you're a divorce attorney. >> i am. it's really changed the game in divorce. it's funny. we used to fight over who would get the house. now we fight over who takes the house. >> reporter: because nobody wants it. >> they run from it. >> reporter: carmen who was born in peru recently became a u.s. citizen. this will be her first chance to vote for an american president. she thinks she'll probably go for president obama. probably. what makes you unsure? >> what makes me unsure is that i have lived through this past government, and it wasn't really too good for me. >> reporter: jan did vote for president obama last time. would you call yourself undecided? >> undecided. i probably won't decide until five minutes before i walk in to vote. >> reporter: really? >> yeah. absolutely. >> reporter: jen's husband chris already has his mind made up.
10:07 pm
>> i feel like my taxes are being squandered on automakers and on wall street and so i think, you know, that's why i think it's time for a big change. >> reporter: but ken defends the president he thinks has been treated unfairly. >> i don't like a lot of the distortions. i don't like a lot of the lies that have been told about him. i don't like the constant attacks that he is under. >> reporter: no matter who wins, carmen's afraid it will be the same old partisan bickering and gridlock. >> the story will be repeated over and over regardless of who is going to come. >> reporter: something else that's already been repeated, the attack ads, phone calls and e-mails of a bitterly fought campaign. >> we're fatigued. >> 2000 wore us out. >> reporter: and who can forget that election night? now nearly 12 years ago. >> i never stop saying florida, florida, florida. >> reporter: are we all these years later still be talking about florida? >> florida will play a role.
10:08 pm
will it be the same as the late great tim russert holding up that dry erase board saying, florida, florida, florida, we hope it won't come that close. >> tim was right then and he is today. to the north of i-4 is the american south and to the south of i-4 is the north, meaning transplanted new yorkers. it is less true today but still -- >> there's some exceptions, but roughly speaking a lot of red counties to the north and a lot of blue to the south with the exception of cuban americans who tend to vote republican. but that middle corridor is gray. it can go either way. 6 of the last 8 presidential elections they've picked the winner. >> if this anger is universal, incumbents of all stripes are in trouble. >> anger at washington, anger at pligs in general. no matter what the party. >> i hear it wherever i go as well. kate snow, back from florida, thank you for your reporting down there. full coverage of tomorrow's florida primary, of course, starting on "today" in the
10:09 pm
morning, all day long on msnbc through "nbc nightly news" and we'll have the results for you in prime time. later on this broadcast, good news about the issue of this election year -- jobs. tonight we'll show you where some of them are coming home back to this country. but next, the story of ken and rosie, two chimpanzees used for years in medical research. they've sacrificed to save human lives. but when is enough enough?
10:10 pm
10:11 pm
10:12 pm
welcome back. tonight we're going to take you inside the emotional issue of 3 using animals in medical research. and when these animals are chimpanzees, the issue becomes explosive. invasive medical testing on chimps is so widely looked down upon, it's been banned in every country in the world except the u.s. and one other nation in africa. but american scientists who use chimps insist that their research is both humane and vital because we share 98% of our dna with chimps. they say what we learn in those experiments helps human lives. tonight we have a rare look inside a texas lab at the center
10:13 pm
of this controversy, and the story of two research chimps there named ken and rosie. here is our senior investigative correspondent lisa myers. >> reporter: meet ken, he's 30 years old. sweet, observant and playful, a gentle giant. and this is rosie. also 30. she's known as a bit of a diva. ken and rosie were born in research labs. and have spent most of their lives in labs dedicated to finding cures for human diseases. they've both been infected with viruses, sedated more than a hundred times. and subject to sometimes painful procedures. rosie was repeatedly given a drug that gave her seizures. what do you think should happen with rosie and ken? >> definitely think rosie and ken deserve to be retired to a sanctuary. >> reporter: famed primatologist jane goodall is best known for her pioneering studies of chimps in the wild. but she's also on another mission, to free chimps from
10:14 pm
invasive biomedical research. >> haven't those two chimpanzees earned the right for a little bit of peace? >> reporter: instead in 2010, after a ten-year hiatus from invasive testing, ken and rosie and a dozen other chimps were sent here, to this sprawling research facility in texas to be available for still more experiments. dr. john vandeberg is director of the primate center at texas biomedical research institute. do you think there ought to be a limit on how much research any single creature should be subjected to? >> what may have happened to them in the past is irrelevant to the high quality of lives that they have here. >> reporter: but that quality of life is a matter of intense debate. and part of the emotional argument over whether experimenting on chimps is morally and scientifically justified to save human lives. you've been forced into a public debate. i mean, let's be honest, otherwise, you wouldn't be sitting here with me. >> absolutely. >> reporter: dr. robert lanford
10:15 pm
is a scientist at texas biomed who has used chimps in research for 27 years. >> the american people have had the wrong opinion that these animal are in bitty cages with no windowses. >> reporter: like this one shown in hidden camera footage shot by peta at a different lab in the '80s. which shows chimps in tiny cages. and at another lab, the humane society went undercover and shot this footage. the chimp terrified at the sight of a tranquilizer gun and darted, crashing to the floor. but lanford says chimps today are treated humanely. to show us, scientists here agreed to do something they've never done before, allow cameras access to their secretive world. chimps here don't live alone and isolated. all are housed in social groups and have indoor and outdoor enclosures so they can climb and swing through structures. because many are infected with
10:16 pm
diseases caretakers and the nbc team had to wear masks and biohazard suits to get near them. we were required to shoot from a safe zone. to get close-ups we built special equipment to attach small cameras directly to their cages. the chimps nose right up to investigate and even tried to remove the camera. many were fasten aid when they discovered their own reflections in the camera lens. >> they're very curious about seeing themselves. and they like look at their eyes, their teeth. areas that you wouldn't typically see on yourself. and they're like, oh, wait, that's me. >> reporter: maribel is in charge of enrichment for the chimps, to ease the boredom of life in confinement. >> you'll see me reassuring them and pet grunting. >> reporter: you'll do what? >> pet grunting. >> reporter: and what are you telling them when you make that noise? >> that i'm their friend, i'm
10:17 pm
being submissive. >> reporter: because chimps are seven times stronger than humans and sometimes violent, they have to be tranquilized for medical procedures. >> in your arm. good job. >> reporter: texas by o med says 75% of chimps here are now trained to voluntarily present body parts for shots and sedation. we were allowed to watch one of the experiments and see a chimp present his arm to be sedated. >> you're a good boy. yeah, you're a good boy. >> reporter: minutes later the meds click in and the chimp falls. it's part of the search for a cure for hepatitis c. a potentially deadly virus affecting 4 million americans. they also do a quick physical. >> when we talk about invasive research, we're talking about taking a blood sample, giving a chimpanzee an injection, giving a chimpanzee a pill. i don't think these actions have any effect whatsoever on chimpanzees psychologically.
10:18 pm
>> all invasive research is torture. and not just the procedures. it's the imprisonment. it's being kept in a small space with no choice. you just are there. you are powerless. >> reporter: jane goodall welcomes improved conditions at the lab, but insists that's not enough. >> remember, we're talking about our closest living relatives with brains so sophisticated that they can do a lot of problems on a computer with a touch pad faster than secondary school students. >> reporter: we met dr. goodal at a private sanctuary in montreal where she was reunited with lab chimps she helped rescue. how do they cope with living in the labs? >> different ways. some went crazy. some withdrew into themselves. some self-mutilate. >> reporter: but the labs argue that without testing on chimps, more humans will die. >> jane goodall is an important advocate for chimpanzees in the wild.
10:19 pm
i'm the advocate for the 500 million people chronically infected with hepatitis b and hepatitis c. >> reporter: what would the consequence be if your research is shut down? >> it will delay everything. time is lives in this disease. >> reporter: testing on chimps has saved lives. it helped produce the help tight b vaccine which is now given to children at birth. but scientists disagree about whether chimps are needed to find a vaccine for hepatitis c. lanford says chimps are crucial because they're the only animal that can be infected with the virus. unlike humans chimps rarely develop sirosis or liver cancer. the question is when is enough a enough? >> you state when is enough enough as if we're torturing the animal or doing something that's severely harmful to the animal. i don't think we're mistreating these animals. >> reporter: what about past medical records that show rosie at risk during sedation and ken at high risk for sudden cardiac
10:20 pm
death? >> we evaluated the animals, we looked at their records, and we deemed them all to be suitable for research studies. >> reporter: the lab points out that federal inspectors recently said the chimps appear to be in excellent health. they also test a drug called monochromal antibodies. testing can be dangerous. how many chimps have died in the course of these studies? >> i'm aware of five animals in the last decade that had adverse events to a drug. >> reporter: so you can't really say that all the research conducted here poses no health risk to these chimps? >> that's right. i can't make a promise that the next drug we put into an animal won't have an adverse event. what i do know is that i'd rather have it happen here and have it happen in somebody's relative, someone's child, someone's father in a clinical trial. >> looking for anything abnormal. >> reporter: but in a drug
10:21 pm
trial, the human has a choice. the chimp has no choice. >> you are correct. chimpanzees do not have a choice to participate in medical research. and pigs do not have a choice to participate in the grinding up of sausage. these are animals. they are used by humans for the welfare of humans. no matter how much someone might wish it were so, chimpanzees are not people. they are chimpanzees. >> a lot to think about here. when we come back, we'll hear from a woman who worked at a very same facility as the research you just heard went on. but her experience led her to a very different course of action.
10:22 pm
10:23 pm
10:24 pm
10:25 pm
welcome back to our exploration of this fierce debate over medical testing on chimpanzees. as you watch this story, consider this. the nearly 1,000 chimpanzees in u.s. labs have a life expectancy of about 50 years. even some experts who support medical testing on chimps believe that at some point they should be allowed to retire. but like everything involving these anim ams even that isn't as simple as it sounds. here once again, lisa myers. >> reporter: when these chimpanzees, who spent their entire lives, inside a lab in austria were finally free to go outside for the first time, they
10:26 pm
initially seemed confused. possibly frightened. but then they appear to rejoice and hug and tentatively step out into the sunlight. it was a poignant reminder of how much some chimps have been through in the name of science and a triumph for jane goodall who worked tirelessly to free them. >> for those chimpanzees who have been shut indoors all of those years and then suddenly to come out. i'm free. i can feel the grass under my feet. the sun up there. it was just so moving. >> reporter: goodall wants to see the hundreds of chimps living at labs in the u.s. also to walk into the relative freedom of a sanctuary. >> the tragedy is that some of the chimps in the labs know nothing else. they've never tasted any kind of freedom in their lives. >> reporter: this is what retirement can look like for chimps lucky enough to be deemed no longer needed for research. in the back woods of louisiana. for first time in most of their lives they can walk on grass,
10:27 pm
swing in the trees and forage in the forest. most have never seen the skies without bars overhead until they come here. >> everything revolves around the welfare of the chimpanzees. that's a very different mission than a research laboratory whose mission is to do research. >> reporter: dr. linda brent was at the research institute for 16 years. she left to start the first national sanctuary partly funded by the government aptly named chimp haven. did seeing chimps in a laboratory setting take a personal toll on you? >> all the years i spent with them in a laboratory touched my heart so deeply. but because i was there i knew that was the right thing to do. >> reporter: most chimps here come from research facilities around the country. brandt says they have the kind of life they could never have in a lab. room to move around and make choices. most groups spend their days in open courtyards and rotate their
10:28 pm
time through the forest. if ken and rosie were retired they'd live here in large closures with other infected chimps. brandt plans to build open spaces for them, too, as soon as she finds the money. >> how are you doing? >> reporter: chimp haven replicates behaviors in the wild through activities like fake termite mounds where chimps use sticks to dig out honey. they engage them in unexpected ways like giving the chimps children's books. they like to look at the pictures. >> banana! >> reporter: we met some of the chimps. >> morning is very exciting around here. the chimpanzees are noisy beasts. >> reporter: grandma is 58 and the matriarch. henry's the mayor. at his post overseeing the compound. hamlet likes to act out. and queenie, well, she lives up to her name. queenie now has five. >> she has plenty of food. >> reporter: years after coming here, brandt says a few chimps
10:29 pm
still exhibit symptoms of stress from their time in the labs. mudge et rocks. les keeps one hand or foot on concrete or steel at all time. >> he's what we call a wall walker. he gets comfort from being next to that concrete wall which is what he's had his entire life. >> reporter: other chimps carry around stuffed animals. violet's been attached to sponge bob for five years. the research labs are resisting retiring more chimps to the sanctuary. dr. vandeberg argues they should live out their lives in the labs because they may be needed in the future. >> i think of the chimpanzees in the same way that i think of a library. there are many books in a library that will never be used this year or next year. many of them might never be used again, but we don't know which ones will be needed tomorrow, next year or the year after. >> reporter: but with all due respect, chimps aren't books. they feel emotions. they feel joy, sadness, pain. they're not like books that you
10:30 pm
stack up here in the library. >> that is why we treat them with utmost reverence and respect and these chimpanzees have a good life, they have a happy life. >> reporter: ken and rosie have not yet been used for research here. whether they or any other chimp gets to go to the sanctuary is entirely up to the labs and the government. there is no ethical guideline. >> most of them are just stockpiled. most of them are not being used. they're just there. in case maybe one day we might want to use them again. >> reporter: just last month in a victory of sorts for the chimps, a scientific review found that because of breakthroughs in science, most current biomedical research use for chimpanzees is not necessary. and the national institutes of health for the first time impose standards to limit future experiments. but because nih did not ban research outright or set a standard for retiring chimps, the battle over the ethics of experimenting on these
10:31 pm
incredible creatures is far from over. in fact, vandeberg predicts that most future studies at his lab will go forward. >> i feel ethically compelled to do biomedical research in order to protect human beings from the diseases that exist on our planet today. and who knows what diseases we're going to have in the future which we'll need chimpanzees to develop vaccines and drugs? >> reporter: for now rosie, ken and hundreds of other chimps who spent their lives in the labs will remain there until humans decide whether they will ever see the relative freedom of a sanctuary. >> in this day and age, with all the advances there have been in finding alternatives to animal research, i want us to say, let's get together and find ways of doing what we must do without using animals as quickly as possible. >> lisa myers here with us in the studio. i keep coming back to the word "noble."
10:32 pm
what they do for us and their sacrifice is so noble. and if we can agree that they deserve a good retirement, you and i were talking during the story airing. you said there was some legislation coming that could help. >> well, there is legislation that would ban all invasive research and immediately retire all the chimps to -- federally-owned chimps to the sanctuar. if viewers want to have an impact, they can weigh in pro or con if they think that's a good idea. the other thing is we have a moral obligation to provide top quality care for these chimps once they're retired from research. and the federal government provides 75% of the money to care for the chimps at chimp haven. they need to get the rest of the money from private donations. >> i know this was quite a life event being on the shoot. lisa myers, thank you for your reporting. as we said, an emotional topic. if you have an opinion you want to share, you can weigh in at rockcenternbc.com.
10:33 pm
a bit later on here tonight moonstruck. newt gingrich says if he's president, we're going back to the moon, but this time to live there. tonight some others who have had that very same idea. and up next -- >> that is the first piece of furniture that lincoln furniture has actually produced on this line. >> good job. very good jobs coming back to america from overseas. they're real and they are here.
10:34 pm
10:35 pm
10:36 pm
♪ share the love with a chocolate heart donut from dunkin'. spread the joy with six donuts for just $3.99.
10:37 pm
welcome back. drive around almost any american city and you'll find them easily shuttered, vacant factories. the jobs are gone. in some cases they've gone overseas. to quote bruce springsteen, they ain't coming back. or are they? where manufacturing jobs are concerned, we are just seeing the first glimmers of evidence that some of those jobs may be making a round trip back here to the states. harry smith visited a factory owner who sent his company's
10:38 pm
jobs to china, but then home called him back. and in just the last few days his products are made in america again. >> reporter: lincolnton, north carolina, is a pretty old town. still proud from better days when manufacturing put decent paychecks in people's pockets. it seemed like those days were gone for good. >> we made a great product. we were proud of it. and we lost it all. >> reporter: maybe it can happen again. >> it will. it will. it will be better. >> reporter: out on the edge of lincolnton at the old cochran furniture factory, the lights are on again. new machinery is being delivered. and soon local lumber will be milled into fine furniture. >> i wake up and i think about this and i think about the people that really depend on this happening, and i won't let them down.
10:39 pm
>> reporter: bruce cochran's family has been in the furniture business here since the civil war, but bruce sold the business 20 years ago. >> this is my grandfather right here. >> reporter: easier to sell than try to compete with the chinese, he figured. so he became a go-between who connected american furniture companies with chinese manufacturers. >> the money was incredibly good, and, you know, when you're making money like that, you really -- you really don't see the consequences of some of the things that you're doing and the detriment that -- you know, people losing jobs here. i realize that i was really a big part of the problem. >> reporter: bruce kept hearing his father's voice. >> my daddy always said, it's not about making furniture, it's about people making furniture. and i think about that all the time. it's about the people. >> reporter: so bruce finally decided to listen to that voice and start up the old factory
10:40 pm
again. when you first came to your wife and you said, honey, i'm thinking about opening up the old business again. >> she thought i was crazy. at first she thought i was kidding. then there were the detractors, they're still out there, saying no way that you're going to be able to pull this off. >> reporter: but at the big furniture show in north carolina last fall, the orders poured in. >> perfect. >> reporter: buyers were impressed with the samples. solid wood, made in america, guaranteed for life. >> you don't remember me, i remember you. >> reporter: for bruce, this isn't just sentimental. he sees real opportunity. chinese wages are rising, shipping costs have doubled. china is not the bargain it used to be. >> we have to recognize that the average chinese worker is about as quarter productive as the u.s. worker.
10:41 pm
>> reporter: hal sees bruce as a dramatic shift. he says the days of china so often have a cost advantage over u.s. manufacturers is about to come to an end. >> i think we're looking at the tipg point right now. by 2015, we'll be at the same level as the cost of the chinese products. >> reporter: 2015? >> yes. >> reporter: that's a couple of years from now. >> it's not that far away. it's for a bunch of products, things like computers, electronics and televisions, for industrial goods like rubber products and machinery. >> reporter: that could mean million of new american jobs in the next few years. how big an impact will this have on the economy as these jobs go from china back to the united states? >> it will be a major impact. our projections are when you take the manufacturing jobs and then the service jobs that get created alongside those, that we will add 2 to 3 million jobs to the u.s. work force. >> reporter: this is no small thing. for bruce, reopening the factory is not a leap of faith but an act of belief.
10:42 pm
in himself and the people who used to work for him. >> how are you doing today? >> reporter: taryn padgett worked for bruce and his father for 20 years. she was unemployed and frightened about the future when bruce called to hire her back. >> when he called me, it was such a relieved feeling. i know when i talk to some of these people i know that relieved feeling is coming for them. >> reporter: now she's doing the hiring. >> my phone started ringing immediately. constant. people stop me in the grocery store. >> reporter: kevin cook used to work here, too. >> what strengths do you feel that you have? >> i feel that i'm a hard worker, i'm always on time. i'm good with people. and you know, i'll give you the hundred percent every day that i'm here. >> that's exactly what i want to hear. >> reporter: the effects can be felt across lincolnton. >> when i heard about them opening back up, wow, okay, there's momentum. it gives you steam. gives everybody steam. >> reporter: carrie is part
10:43 pm
owner and manager of bessie's kitchen where they serve the best fried chicken between raleigh and asheville. cars and trucks going in and out of that driveway. >> and the truck drivers. that would be great for the truck drivers because we got a great big parking lot out here. >> reporter: even the white house has taken notice. that was bruce, a republican, sitting near michelle obama at the state of the union address last week. 130 new jobs may not seem like much -- >> this it is you're looking at it right here. that is the first piece of furniture that lincoln furniture has actually produced on this line. >> reporter: but bruce and the folks at lincolnton furniture feel like they're on to something. >> it's pretty emotional. i love you guys just like you're a part of my family. i want everybody to sign this
10:44 pm
piece of furniture today. >> reporter: they're not waiting for the economy to bounce back. they're pitching in to see that it does. bruce cochran is a living parable about people and profits and priorities. it almost seems to me that there's some personal redemption in this for you as well. >> my father was a -- he was a great man. and i was not of that ilk. i was not as compassionate, and i didn't have the empathy. and genuine love for the people that he had. and i got a second chance. >> harry smith here with us in the studio. i think most reasonable people can agree, it would be good for our country to be manufacturers again, and then i heard you saying that he had a rough go
10:45 pm
getting financing and i hate to hear that. >> it's so interesting. because here's a guy with a great business plan. couldn't have more experience, got the best people in the community to get this started. they had a bunch of cash to start. he needed operating capital. he went up and down the east coast, went through all the banks in the south, couldn't find financing until he went to the banker in his home town. >> well, there you go. thank you very much for bringing us that story. that was fantastic. >> my pleasure. when we come back here after another break, could newt gingrich be on to something here? what about moon colonies? perhaps as a second home given what we've done to this one?
10:46 pm
10:47 pm
10:48 pm
10:49 pm
just when the idea of moon colonies had pretty much faded from our national discussion, leave it to newt gingrich to revive the idea of setting up a mini-america way up there. he has talked about these moon colonies constantly in florida where, along the space coast of florida, as they call it, a ton of jobs have been lost as our space program has ground to a halt. here's his pitch. here's the former speaker from an event back on the 25th. >> by the end of my second term term -- [ cheers ] -- we will have the first permanent base on the moon, and
10:50 pm
it will be american. >> so after all this talk, we set out to find out what we could about moon colonies, and we want to show you what we found. from january 5th, 1968, an hour-long program from nbc news called "tomorrow's world: beyond the sky." listen here for expressions like enthusiastic spacemen. and listen for wild predictions about the far-off future. we're talking now about the 1980s. your narrator is frank mcgee. >> beyond the sky, reported by frank mcgee. >> space experts of both nations, and they're not idle dreamers, have developed concepts of colonization of the moon. constantly in communication with earth through satellites, man in an artificial environment could live on the lunar surface. these are not the pages of science fiction.
10:51 pm
enthusiastic spacemen foresee a 50 to 100-man moon city by the 1980s. not long after sputnik, the soviets began publicizing their version of life on the moon. it will be in mechanical monsters, huge bugs that walk with man as an observer as the machine explores the depths of the moon craters. the soviets -- and we're looking now at a russian-made documentary film -- will then put man on foot for further detailed exploration. the soviets speculate there may be ice and treasure buried under the moon surface. here is a portion of the commentary in the soviet english language version of this film. >> it is quite probable that man will also find oil in the bowels of the moon and supply local fuel and raw material for making synthetic products. the inhabited points will get the water they need from the poles by pipeline. man will go about bringing modern services and amenities to
10:52 pm
the wild planet to his working place, to his new home. and perhaps the day will come when a tiny tot will go minsing down the streets of the city, the first person to be born in this rigorous world, born for new exploits, a person who has never seen the earth. >> this is soviet documentary film. a russian projection into the future. >> one year and seven months after that aired, americans were walking around on the moon. of course, we never colonized, but perhaps we could under president gingrich. and one more thing.ination with the soviets, as the russians were called them, we were in an all-out space race. they went up first, they orbited first, but we were able to beat them to the and now today in the ultimate irony, the russians are our only ride into space. that's how american astronauts get to the space station. so we'll take a break.
10:53 pm
and when we come back, if newt gingrich got his way, could we do it?
10:54 pm
10:55 pm
so we are back here and we're talking about newt gingrich's decision to boldly go where no former house speaker has ever gone. he wants colonies on the moon. and if we did decide as a nation to go there and colonize the place, the question is could we do it? and what would we get out of it? and is there anything wrong with thinking big again? tonight we get to ask one of the best in the business. he's an astrophysicist and the
10:56 pm
director of the hayden planetary at the museum of natural history here in new york. he's the author of "space crannicles" which is coming out in february. also "space chronicles." i looked at the dedication. you dedicate your book to big thinkers and dreamers and people thinking about tomorrow. have we stopped thinking about tomorrow? >> we have so stopped thinking about tomorrow. we're not that old to not remember the '60s and '50s where you wouldn't go more than a week without an article in "time" magazine or "look" and saying the city of tomorrow, the transportation of tomorrow. it's all gone. it coincided with the space race and ended when all that ended. >> when you hear talk about moon colonies, is that the answer? >> he's been so razzed with that. i don't have a problem with that. it's very reachable scientifically and from an engineering sense, but he seems to think that all we have to do is just want to do it and then people who don't live in a state
10:57 pm
that happen to have a nasa center, would they all then agree? there's a mismatch between the ambition and how he plans to get it done. i go at lengths with how one might do this. one is you commit to going into space it changes the culture of the nation that in such a way that kids in school say i want to be part of that adventure. they become scientists and engineers and those are the people who make tomorrow come and invent new economies that now people just think about surviving the day. >> and i pointed out before the break especially for guys of our age, the fact that the russians are our ride is just -- >> it's a little embarrassing. the way to think about that is back in the '60s there were two space faring nations. today there are two space faring nations and they don't include america. how about that? china and russia, the only countries around that are sending humans into space. >> you still call it the ultimate frontier. do you think, final question, that's what's missing from our
10:58 pm
life and times? >> it's so what's missing. because without that what are you dreaming about? where's your hope for tomorrow? the fact that such an enterprise stimulates interest in the frontiers of all the sciences that nasa taps, biology, chemistry, physics, aerospace engineering, you seduce an entire generation of students into the pipeline to want to become those -- to study those fields. that transforms the culture around you. >> thank you, doctor. we'll buy the book in february. >> okay. thank you. >> thanks for coming by. finally tonight, two important things to tell you about next week's show. meredith vieira will make her rock center debut with an exclusive interview with mimi alford. while you may not know that name, you'll be hearing about the book she's written. in 1962, she was 19, an intern at the white house. and she tells meredith a secret she's kept for half a century that she was seduced by president john f. kennedy on just her fourth day on the job. >> the president came over to me
10:59 pm
and asked me if i'd like to take a tour of the second floor of the white house. and see some of the rooms that had been redecorated. the last room that we went into was the bedroom. and we walked in to the bedroom. and it was a beautiful room. >> it was jackie kennedy's bedroom. >> i learned later that it was mrs. kennedy's bedroom. >> an unbelievable story from this book. meredith will have that. second thing we need to tell you is don't look for us here. this is our last monday night. we're moving to wednesdays at 9:00, 8:00 central. that's the wednesday after the super bowl. thanks for being with us. -- captions by vitac -- www tonight, a stairwell collapse in the middle of a move-in, trapping people on the top floors. a corporate jet overshoots the runway at

214 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on